Intermittent Fasting – Self Experimentation (Part 1)
Beginning of February I had reached 83 kg. This was far too much. I had to lose some weight, fast. In the following post I’ll be sharing some very interesting and exciting experiences. I decided to lose 13 kg within two months. I decided to split the post in two parts, otherwise it would have been too much reading. Here, you’ll be able to see my progress within the first 31 days. You’ll also see, that even though I’m very focused on losing weight, I’m equally focused on retaining a good quality of life. I don’t believe that losing weight should be at the expense of a good full life. With other words, I am binging now and again. Generally speaking, I know that I’m on the right track. So any weight I might be putting on here and there, I’ll lose again the next day. So, no panic – all is good – very good.
You notice the gap in the graphic. There were eight days, when I was not able to weigh myself. I was on tour. You’ll get all the information in relation to the chart in the text below.
Part 2 is on the way. I’m writing on it already and I can tell you now that it is going to be very interesting. I believe that I will have reached my goal at the beginning of April and will then of course publish the post. Stay tuned, or better yet, subscribe and you won’t miss out.
From low carb to intermittent fasting
Pounds were back on after keeping them off for 9 years
As you may know, there is a lot of literature out there about intermittent fasting. About ten years back, I lost 24 kg within eight months by watching my carbohydrates. It really worked for me and I lost the weight in no time. It was really easy. I also managed to keep the weight off for 9 years without a problem. Last year however, throughout my season as a tour guide and journalist, I started to slowly put on weight again.
I guess I was complacent. For so many years, I kept off the weight, I suddenly stopped paying much attention to food intake. At the end of the year I had 10 kg more on the scales.
Struggling to get back on track
At the end of the season, I was truly gutted. I started doing the low carb diet again, but somehow, I wasn’t really getting anywhere. Maybe, because I wasn’t really sticking to the “rules” I adhered to ten years ago. Also, I guess, I didn’t do enough exercise, in form of walking. Altogether, it was an uphill, losing battle. I either was stagnant or even put weight back on.
And then there was intermittent fasting
While doing some online research, I came across intermittent fasting. Fasting is something that has always interested me. I believed that it must be a spirit and body cleansing experience. I learned that there are several different intermittent fasting options. One of them would be 5:2, which would mean within 7 days you eat normal for 5 days and for 2 days you do a 24 hour fast. Which fasting days you actually pick, is your business. Talking about 24 hour fasting, doesn’t actually mean that you don’t get any food on any one given day. Let’s say, on the eve of your choice you have a dinner at 7 pm and from that moment on, you have nothing to eat whatsoever for the following 24 hours – you’ll eventually eat again at 7 pm the following day. With other words there will never be a single day without any food. During the fasting period you should drink water or unsweetened tea.
Let’s summarise. With the 5:2 intermittent fasting you have, if you wish, three normal meals and on the two fasting days of your choice you have one meal, which should be 24 hours after the dinner of the day before.
There are other intermittent fasting options. You could also eat normally for five days and have one fasting day (5:1). Instead of 24 hour fasting periods, you can basically opt for any periods of fasting you like. Whatever suits you best. You could for example have a late breakfast, or for that matter an early lunch (brunch) at 11 a.m. and then have a very early dinner at 4 p.m. and then fast until 11 a.m. the next morning etc.
To lose some serious weight to start with I opted for every second day fasting. I urgently want to lose 10 kg. I have a wardrobe full of beautiful shirts – all brand new and not cheap. I also have a nice collection of trousers. Furthermore I like to see my feet when I’m standing up and I don’t like feeling my weight when hiking. Here is how I did:
Day 1 – morning weight 82.3 kg
I suppose for some of you, the food I had would probably be boring. Saying that, I’m a passionate baker. I love baking my own bread and we all know that bread can be addictive and bread is also a recipe to gaining weight. Nevertheless, I had three “meals” of home made bread this day. On the bread I had brawn from the local butcher. I only bought this stuff. It is not readily available in Ireland, so I indulged on it. My last batch of bread was at 7 pm.
Day 2 – morning weight 83 kg + 0.7 kg
For 7 pm on day two I meant to cook something for dinner. However, instead I decided to go out. I treated myself to a 10 oz (285 g) Sirloin Steak with chips and pepper sauce on the side.
Day 3 – morning weight 81.4 kg – 1.6 kg
For breakfast I treated myself to a Full Irish Breakfast, consisting of 2 sausages, 3 streaky rashers, 3 black pudding, fried mushrooms, baked beans, 1 fried egg and 3 slices of toast (home baked wholemeal). Now, this was a mighty breakfast. It was so much, that I easily skipped lunch.
For dinner (7 p.m.) I had four slices of home baked bread with partly brawn and partly my butcher’s home cooked corned beef.
Day 4 – morning weight 81.7 kg + 0.3 kg
It was a fasting day. For dinner (ca. 7 p.m.) I had a huge portion of wholemeal Spaghetti Carbonara. I felt I was overeating.
Day 5 – morning weight 81 kg – 0.7 kg
For breakfast I had a soft boiled egg and two slices of my home baked bread. For lunch, which I was planning to skip, I had two slices of home baked bread with Camembert. For dinner I had a banana and four slices of home baked bread with Camembert. Before lunch I went for a 45 minute brisk walk.
Day 6 – morning weight 80.6 kg – 0.4 kg
Today is dedicated to fasting. At around midday I had another brisk 45 minute walk. I don’t know whether it is wise to be working out on a fasting day, we’ll see. On the other hand, a brisk walk is not exactly athletics.
I sat down for dinner just before 7 pm. I had some Irish organic salmon, mashed potatoes, spinach, carrots and parsnip.
Day 7 – morning weight 80 kg – 0.6 kg
This morning I woke up to a full Irish Breakfast. In this case it was to be two sausages, three streaky rashers, some mushrooms, baked beans, three pieces of black pudding and three slices of home baked bread. I skipped lunch, I just couldn’t eat anything and went for a nice brisk 45 minute walk instead. For dinner I had some roast chicken, roast potatoes, roast parsnip and roast carrots. On top of all that a bit of gravy and as a dessert a banana.
Day 8 – morning weight 80.3 kg + 0.3 kg
Fasting day. When I got onto the scales this morning and saw that I had gained 300 grams I immediately made the Full Irish responsible for the weight gain. But then I reflected and came to the conclusion that throughout the day, I didn’t really overeat. On top of that, I had a nice little walk. It was just one of those days, where you have more weight then you think you should have. That’s nature. There’re many reasons why sometimes you may have that little bit more weight on than you expect. This is one of the reasons, why some critics say that we shouldn’t weigh ourselves daily. Some people can’t handle those fluctuations and either panic or lose heart. If you’re one of those people, it might be better to weigh yourself weekly, rather than daily. I’m well aware that there may be the odd day when you apparently gained weight, when you exactly know that you shouldn’t have.
For dinner I had some of the chicken from the day before, some mashed potatoes, roast carrots and gravy. As a dessert I had a few dry roasted, salted pistachio nuts.
Whether I had put on weight or not. Fact is, that today is one week anniversary and I lost 2 kg since I started. That’s not bad for the beginning. Let’s see how I get on with the rest of the program.
Day 9 – morning weight 79.9 kg – 0.4 kg
What a beautiful experience. In a long time, I actually see a 7 as the first digit on my bathroom scales. I haven’t seen that in a long time and I would really like to hold onto this seven and never let it go again. However, I am well aware that I’ll most probably put on a few hundred grams today, as it is a feeding day. Why I keep putting on weight during feeding days is a riddle, because I don’t really eat too much. I’ll have to investigate on that.
This morning I had a soft boiled egg and three thin slices of home baked spelt bread. I skipped lunch. I was out and about and just forgot about it. For dinner I had six thin slices of home baked spelt bread with full fat Camembert. Yummy. After dinner I went for a brisk walk. Let’s see what tomorrow’s scales say.
Day 10 – morning weight 79.5 kg – 0.4 kg
Today is a fasting day. Last night I had a very early dinner. I finished eating at around 5:50 pm. The reason – tonight I’m going out for dinner. The table is booked for 5:15 pm. This is very early. We’ll be eating of a generous 3-course menu and I’m sure I’ll have a glas of wine with my dinner. Even though I’m determined to lose weight, there have to be days like tonight. I’m not going to stop living for the sake of dieting. There has to be a balance. I’m not going to lose weight at the expense of a decent quality of life.
Now, I had the following for dinner:
As a starter I had grab meat with avocado mouse. The main course consisted of a rib-eye steak, kale cabbage, green beans, sugar snap peas and some very thickly cut chips. The dessert was a pear and plum, boiled in red wine. Served with a serving of rum and raisin ice cream. I also enjoyed a couple of small glasses of red wine with my dinner.
Day 11 – morning weight 79.6 kg + 0.1 kg
Today I had a lie-in. I skipped breakfast and decided to go out for lunch. I visualised a nice bowl of soup. However, when I got to the venue, I didn’t fancy any of their soups of the day and opted for a little baguette with Cajun chicken and roast veggies. Yummy.
For dinner I cooked some bacon and green cabbage. I had one and a half rather big slices of bacon, one potato a nice helping of green cabbage and a bit of mustard sauce. Looking back at my low carb diet, I thought this was okay. Little carbohydrates, but loads of protein (bacon). Surely, it won’t show on the scales.
Day 12 – morning weight 79.9 kg + 0.3 kg
I guess that’s what those diets are about. It’s all about experimenting and finding out what works for you. In my case I guess, I just have to take it easier when it comes to dinner. On top of that, today, I had to get up at least 2.5 to 3 hours earlier than normal. I started a tour. From experience I know that you lose between 65 and 100 g of weight while in bed. But even if I did subtract 300 g from this morning’s weight, I would still have the same weight as yesterday.
Change of plan
Today, I’m starting an eight day tour. Over the last few days I was breaking my head, how I could integrate my “diet” into my working life. After doing a lot of research, I’ve decided to change the rhythm of my intermittent fasting. Instead of fasting for 24 hours every second day, I’ll fast 16 to 18 hour every day. This means, I’ll skip breakfast and have a lunch and dinner every day.
One problem I do have throughout those eight days is, that I can’t weigh myself in the hotels. I do have to wait until I get home before I know whether and if, how much weight I lost. I hope that I’ll have lost an additional 2 kg by the end of the tour. Let’s see
(Day 1 of tour)
I skipped breakfast. At lunchtime I was at Dublin airport and I didn’t have much time to have something for lunch. I settled on a quarter pounder from McDonalds. For dinner I was looking at having a nice salad. However, when I was sitting in the hotel venue and I saw how they were carrying out the home made burgers, I decided on a burger instead. A nice burger with bacon, no cheese, no chips, but with a nice salad. Dinner was finished at around 7:30 pm.
Day 13 (Day 2 of tour)
I skipped breakfast. For lunch I had a seafood chowder with a thin slice of Irish soda bread. For dinner I had a chicken Caesar salad with croutons and and some crispy bacon.
Day 14 (Day 3 of tour)
I once again skipped breakfast. I was visiting an agricultural college with my group. We had lunch in the college canteen. On the menu were either serious main courses or a soup I didn’t fancy. I opted for a home made hamburger with onions and a cup of peppermint tea. For dinner I had a chicken Caesar salad. As I was saying, I don’t have the option to weigh myself, while I’m on tour. According to my feeling, I don’t seem to lose weight right now. Hopefully, my perception will be wrong. The morning of day 20 will be the moment of truth. That’s the next opportunity I have to weigh myself.
Day 15 (Day 4 of tour)
Another day without breakfast. For me, it is actually the easiest thing to do – skip breakfast. Today’s program was the Ring of Kerry. I was looking forward to an award winning seafood chowder at the Fishermen’s Bar in Waterville. I was very disappointed to find out, that this venue was still closed. They won’t open until St. Patrick’s Day. Instead I went across the road into some purple pub and had a chowder there. It was by far not as good as the one in the Fishermen’s Bar. For dinner I had a sirloin steak with chips, mushrooms, onion rings and a creamy pepper sauce. I feel like I’ve eaten too much. Let’s see what the scales have to say on day 20 morning.
Day 16 (Day 5 of the tour)
I find it very easy not to have breakfast. However, I do seriously wonder whether this system (16 to 18 hours of fasting) is actually working. I know I should just wait until day 20, weigh myself and then come to a conclusion. But I just can’t help myself. I have a very strong feeling that I’m putting on weight, never mind keeping it steady or even losing it.
For lunch I had a seafood chowder and for dinner I had a Caesar salad with crispy bacon and croutons.
Day 17 (Day 6 of the tour)
After skipping breakfast, I had a cauliflower/cheese soup with a slice of soda bread for lunch. For dinner I opted for a home made burger in an onion bun, served with salad. Today, I actually managed to have a nice brisk 45 minute walk at lunchtime.
Day 18 (Day 7 of the tour)
No breakfast. For lunch I had a seafood chowder and for dinner a home made beefburger.
Day 19 (Day 8 of tour)
Today is the last day of the tour. Finally I can weigh myself again tomorrow. I’m really looking forward to this. I wonder how this method of fasting worked for me, compared to the “every other day” fasting.
After skipping breakfast, I had a prawn sandwich for lunch. My dinner consisted of lasagne and salad.
Back to every other day
Day 20 – morning weight 78.4 kg – 1.5 kg
Now, I actually lost 1.5 kg within the last 8 to 9 days. This is not a lot, but it is okay. At least I know, that I can use this method of fasting while I’m on tour. I didn’t exactly eat terribly balanced and healthy and yet, I lost 1.5 kg. And when I reach a point where I don’t really lose any weight, I can squeeze in a Full Irish Breakfast.
For now, I’ll return to the “every other day” version. With other words, I’ll be fasting today until dinner time.
For today’s dinner I had a nice joint of beef, which I roasted in the oven. With the beef, I had some roast potatoes, gravy, carrots and green asparagus.
Day 21 – morning weight 77.6 kg – 0.8 kg
I had a late breakfast. I guess it was a brunch. I enjoyed a soft boiled egg and three thin slices of home baked bread. For dinner I meant to have some roast beef, potatoes, green asparagus and carrots. However, since I had freshly baked bread and since I will be fasting for 24 hours, I decided to have some more bread and brawn I bought today. I’m afraid that the bread goes stale tomorrow.
Day 22 – morning weight 77.6 kg +- 0 kg
I guess, all this bread in one day was a little bit to much. On the other hand, I’m convinced that I would have lost some weight if I had done one of my 45 minute walks.
Fasting day. Dinner consisted of three thin slices of roast beef, two little potatoes, a few green asparagus and some fresh spinach.
Day 23 – morning weight 77.3 kg – 0.3 kg
I’m attending a party tonight. A befriended couple are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary and anybody familiar with Irish culture will be aware that at those occasions alcohol will be plentiful and drink and food will be in abundance. I decided to take it easy on the alcohol side, but eat like a king. To be honest, we have to keep living and any weight I should put on tonight, I’ll lose again over the next couple of days.
For lunch I had a bread roll and a soft boiled egg. Upon arrival to the party I got a glass of Prosecco. My dinner: To start I had a salad with beetroot and goat’s cheese. For mains I had a sirloin steak with chips, spinach, carrots and cauliflower. The dessert consisted of an apple crumble. I enjoyed a small glass of red wine with my dinner and wrapped it all up with an espresso.
Day 24 – morning weight 77.4 kg + 0.1 kg
What a nice surprise. I had a great time last night and had a very satisfying meal and still, I only put on 100 g.
Today is a fasting day. For dinner I had three thin slices of roast beef (leftovers), some green asparagus, broccoli, gravy and half a potato.
Day 25 – morning weight 76.9 kg – 0.5 kg
For lunch I had a soft boiled egg and three thin slices of home baked bread. Again, I succumbed my home baked bread for dinner. I had four thin slices with my butcher’s rare brawn. After dinner I went for a nice brisk 45 minute walk.
Day 26 – morning weight 77.3 kg + 0.4 kg
Don’t ask. Another one of those days where I put on weight and I can’t explain why. Maybe I drink more on some days than on others. I don’t know. It’s not really that important either. I know that the weight I put on mysteriously one day, I’ll lose just as mysteriously on another day. For me, the weekly weight is most important. I know that I’m on the right track and that’s what counts.
Today it is another fasting day. At around lunchtime I went for a brisk 45 minute walk. For dinner I prepared a nice duck. The duck weighed 2.2 kg and I had about a quarter of that for dinner. With the duck I had half a potato, red cabbage and gravy. I have to admit that I felt sick after dinner. I had definitely over eaten. I was seriously disgusted with myself. I’m promising myself, that from tomorrow, there will be a different regiment in my endeavour to lose weight. I went for a brisk 35 minute walk after dinner.
Day 27 – morning weight 77.3 kg +- 0 kg
I’m seriously surprised that I didn’t put on any weight. I’m still feeling sickish from last night’s binge eating. I started the day with three Espressos. For lunch I had a vegetable soup with soda bread. For dinner I had the rest of yesterday’s duck. Not as much as yesterday though. With the duck I had a small potato, red cabbage and sauce.
Day 28 – morning weight 77 kg – 0.3 kg
Fasting day. I feel good today. Even though, I still felt that I had too much duck last night, I didn’t really overdo it. I think, due to the intermittent fasting, I feel fuller sooner. After a few mouthful of food, I start to feel that I don’t want to eat any more. I don’t think this is wrong. I just have to make sure, that if I really end up eating very little, that I start eating the right stuff. Especially once I’ve reached my “ideal” weight. I guess, once I reach this point, it all boils down to eating enough carbohydrates incl. pasta, potatoes, rice, bread etc.
For dinner I had four very thin slices whole-grain rye bread with brawn and German liver pate.
Day 29 – morning weight 76.8 kg – 0.2 kg
I had a demi baguette with Emmentaler cheese, cooked ham, tomatoes and a bit of salad for lunch. Dinner consisted of two chicken pieces from KFC. I was out and about and KFC was just handy.
Day 30 – morning weight 76.8 kg +- 0 kg
Deja vu. I remember this feeling that I’m just not getting anywhere very good. It was at around the same phase of my low carb diet, I did 10 years back. I remember getting very frustrated at the time. I remember mentioning it to my GP and she told me to relax. First of all, she said, you’ve achieved already loads and secondly, give your body a break. Go out and binge for a day and see what happens next. I did exactly as she said. I went out and ate to my heart’s content. And you know what? The weight kept falling off me. I think I might do one of those binging days tomorrow. For today I’ll stick to my fasting regiment.
Today is fasting day. For dinner I had two super thin slices of whole-grain rye bread with German liver pate and a mixed salad.
Day 31 – morning weight 76.4 kg – 0.4 kg
At around 11 am I had a mini Full Irish, which consisted of one little sausage, two pieces of black pudding, two little pieces of streaky bacon, two table spoons of baked beans, one fried egg and one slice of brown toast. Tonight I’ll be going out for dinner. I treated myself for dinner with a rare sirloin steak, accompanied by saute onions, mushrooms, chips and pepper sauce. As a starter I had a mixed salad with warm goat’s cheese. I washed the dinner down with two glasses of Cabernet Sauvignon. Yum. Let’s see what the scales have to say tomorrow.
Part 2 is on the way
I’m looking forward to the beginning of April. That’s when part 2 will be following. Hopefully, I’ll have reached my goal by then.